My Nana wore a flapper-style wedding dress and carried an enormous bouquet when she got married. She loved parties and people, tennis and matching hats. Perfect for a vicars wife.
My Nana read interesting snippets out of the paper and took up dressmaking. She scrimped on material so there was always a patch over a seam in a poignant place like centre front.
My Nana was widowed young so she took up travelling. She collected crystal handbells and souvenir matchboxes from the cities she visited around the world. She’d appear like an over adorned Christmas tree at the end of each trip, beaming as she sauntered off the plane.
My Nana wore orangey-red lipstick and grew a bristly kiss. She bought a white Mini Clubman and rode the clutch like a fury to morning teas around the village. On the days the tar melted, she’d collect us for a swim in her towelling housecoat; you could hear her roar streets away.
My Nana loved a good suntan. Her lower legs came to look like her crocodile handbag. ‘Just doing the fronts today dear,’ she’d smile from her sun lounger, while wasps nibbled plums on the grass beside her in the Hawkes Bay heat.
My Nana had terrible bunions; it was surprising her feet could get into those rows of going-out shoes. Her bedroom was a treasure trove of handbags and water-colours and clip-on earrings. Her glass topped dresser held a black and white museum of memories.
My Nana kept her hair dye in the bathroom cupboard. She used, ‘Cha Cha Gray’ and mostly left it in too long so her hair turned a flattering mauve.
My Nana tried to discourage my love of ponies. She said girls who rode horses ended up looking like them. She had a friend who looked like her pug dog. I could see her point. She also told me I was kind and could be a nurse when I grew up.
My Nana liked sherry. When I got my licence I’d drive up from Onga Onga to visit, she’d pour me a couple in her blood red crystal glasses, as we chatted in the drawing room. I’d be shickered by the time I left.
My Nana was never a great cook. But when she started making toad in the hole from sausages peeled off the bottom of her fridge, she went into a home. She complained Mr Witherton-Jones had terrible manners when he slurped his soup beside her, and she wasn’t staying long.
My Nana used to hold parties in her room and invite her favourite nurses. She always had a cask of Blenheimer under her sink. ‘It’s so refreshing,’ she’d say.
My Nana sometimes went missing. But she always wore a hat!